Freeland's exotic pets expelled by ordinance
By AMANDA CHRISTMAN (Staff Writer)
Published: December 4, 2009
If you live in Freeland and have a pet puma - or any other animal considered exotic - you'll have to pay a fee or find it a new home.
Freeland Council approved its version of an exotic pet ordinance at Thursday night's meeting.
The ordinance was drafted and advertised to the public in November after two pet pythons went missing from an Adams Street home, to the fright of several people in the neighborhood. The snakes were eventually found, according to borough police, but residents still rallied for a ban on certain animals from becoming pets.
Now, residents who keep a pet defined under the ordinance as exotic or wild is subject to a $1,000 fine, 30 days in prison or both for each day the violation exists.
The ordinance also bans breeding or selling the animals in Freeland.
If someone has a pet considered exotic, they don't necessarily have to get rid of it. The pet owners can obtain a $300 permit and non-conforming use status for the animal, pending borough approval. The pet in question cannot have a history of health or safety problems and the owner must fill out an application that includes the animal's species, age and sex and a plan for housing the animal to prevent its escape.
If the pet dies or is taken from the home for any other reason, it cannot be replaced.
The permits must be obtained within 30 days of council adopting the ordinance.
Anyone who violates the ordinance must get rid of the animal or give it to the borough police department. Officers are allowed to release the animal into the wild, a zoo, or "dispose" of it in a humane manner, at the owner's expense.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org